Mums and baby group (I used the penguins because it was in my files…and I like penguins)
There is a power in others. I managed to go to my first mum (with tag along Dads and Dads to be) and baby group. It was strangely satisfying last weekend to just be around other people in the same boat. Two hours of stories about poo, cramps, hunger, weight gain, weight loss, sleeplessness, tiredness, fear, hope and happiness made me feel strangely safe in where we are.
That need to be with others who are alike, the same, be it interests or situations is something I had not really appreciated before in such a big way. When new and exciting and let’s face it, fucking terrifying things are happening you want to know it is not just you, that things are ok and life is progressing normally. Even just acknowledging that is a start on the road to feeling safer. There were common themes. Most of them revolved around food, the desire to eat, breast feeding, and the judgements of others.
Living in a country so alien from my own cultural background it is very easy to get angry with perceived rudeness, the staring and the eventual cat calling of the locals. I get it because of my size, but a new father talked about the local people criticizing him or pestering him because of how he treated his child. In this case it was just that he was outside with his child in a society that doesn’t see many children under a year old out and about. My response was one of aggression, and it has been in the past – to be honest now if people stare too long I blow them a kiss – if you are a small Asian man and a giant westerner starts making kissy faces at you, you soon stop.
But is that the way to go? My new fiend said no. It is just too much like hard work, it’s too much energy and it won’t change a thing. If anything it will just make it worse. Just smile and walk on by, he said. You need to spend the energy on your son, not on the dickhead who thinks he’s Asia’s answer to Dr Spock.
That was what I learned today – not that I need to avoid fighting centuries of Confucian culture, but that I need to save my energy for what really matters. No point in getting mad, no point at all. I think that whole stoicism thing might have some legs.